November 29, 2016
While less known than his peers at big banks, Mr. [John A.] Allison ranks as one of the most legendary bank CEOs in recent history, said Christopher Marinac, director of research at FIG Partners LLC. “He’s head of the class,” said Mr. Marinac. “A lot of folks didn’t understand the conservatism of BB&T until the crisis, but they appreciated it after.”
Mr. Allison’s worldview was shaped when he was a college student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and stumbled across a collection of essays by Ms. Rand.
Mr. Allison joined BB&T out of college in 1971 and became CEO in 1989. As CEO, he penned a 30-page handbook, “The BB&T Philosophy,” to give to employees on their first day of work. The first maxim was reality. “The existence of the law of gravity does not mean men cannot create an airplane,” he wrote. “However, an airplane must be created within the context of the law of gravity. At BB&T, we believe in being ‘reality grounded.’”
In 2006, Mr. Allison made headlines when he declined to lend money for commercial projects on private land seized by eminent domain—a government practice that Mr. Allison believed was an affront to individuals’ property rights.
Mr. Allison instilled a conservative lending culture. BB&T avoided negative-amortizing loans and complicated structured products that Mr. Allison called “esoteric” and “illogical.”
That meant BB&T was often overshadowed by North Carolina rival Wachovia Corp., whose risky mortgage loans fueled huge growth before the crisis—only to then cause its downfall. That bank was purchased during the height of the crisis by Wells Fargo & Co.
Seeking Alpha reports Allison might be under consideration for Treasury, which seems like a great fit for his talents.
More like him, please.